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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 18:34 GMT
Observers critical of Gabon poll

International observers have criticised the conduct of the first round of parliamentary elections in Gabon.

The observers said there had been problems with the organisation of the poll at the weekend.

In particular they cited the fact many polling stations opened late, and were not provided with enough voting materials.

The opposition leader, Pierre Mamboundou, had already called for fresh elections after what he called the indescribable disorder of the poll.

According to provisional indications, President Omar Bongo's Democratic Party of Gabon was ahead in the vote, but the National Electoral Commission has not issued any official results so far. The turnout was reported to be low in many parts of the country.

Correspondents say an opposition boycott campaign helped deter voters.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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